Interview: Aaron Hillegass

Scott Stevenson at InformIT interviews Aaron Hillegass about the new edition of Aaron’s “Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X” book, programmers’ fear of the NIB file, and why there aren’t more Macs in corporate America. There are some real gems in this interview, so read on.One of the questions regarding the new edition of his book, which is now updated to match Xcode 3.1 and Mac OS 10.5 Leopard, concerns if developers who already know the basics about Objective-C can still make use of the book. “The typical self-taught Cocoa programmer has mastered a few concepts and uses them in every situation. By going through the book from beginning to end, the reader gets familiarity with a large collection of ideas and technologies,” the author explains, “This deeper understanding results in better, more reliable applications – because the reader uses the Cocoa frameworks as they were intended to be used.”

To developers trying to figure out if they should learn Objective-C or use one of the Cocoa scripting bridges, he says:

For fifty years, there has been a heated debate going on about programming languages. In the meantime, real programmers have been solving real problems with imperfect languages like Perl and Objective-C. Why?

Perl and Objective-C have three things in common:

  1. They come with incredible libraries. Perl has CPAN and Objective-C has Cocoa.
  2. They don’t get in your way. Both languages have good performance and loose typing.
  3. They are easy to learn.

Ruby and Python are lovely scripting languages, and you can write Cocoa applications with them after you learn Objective-C!

The Mac has been making serious inroads into the consumer market, but InformIT wonders if Hillegass feels that the Mac is also making inroads into the corporate world. His answer is, shall we say, clear.

Apple seems to doing its best to keep Macs out of the corporate world. Most dialogues between Apple and a corporation go something like this:

Corporation: Hey, does Cocoa include something to help us write apps that talk to our Oracle database?

Apple: Um, nope. But isn’t GarageBand cool?

Corporation: Hmm.


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